Mashrafe made his international bow in Tests against Zimbabwe at Bangabandhu National Stadium on November 8, 2001. Bangladesh were all out for 107 runs in their first innings. Mashrafe scored eight from 22 deliveries. With the ball, Mashrafe bowled really well, taking four wickets conceding 106 runs in 32 overs, including eight maidens. He made his ODI debut against the same opposition on November 23 in the same year. He bowled impressively in that match as well, bagging four wickets conceding 26 runs in eight overs.
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Mashrafe has often led from the front when the going got tough COURTESY
Captaincy and countless injuries
Mashrafe was named captain in 2009 for the first time in his career ahead of the tour of the West Indies and Zimbabwe. In July, 2009, Bangladesh toured the Caribbean. Mashrafe made a winning start as skipper as they beat the Windies. However, he injured his knee and was unable to take the field on the final day, leaving Shakib al Hasan to assume the captaincy and lead the team to a historic win. His injury prevented him from taking part in the remainder of the tour and later he was also ruled out from the tour of Zimbabwe in August, 2009. Due to injury-crisis, he left the captaincy in 2010.
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Mashrafe was reduced to tears after being omitted from the 2011 World Cup squad COURTESY
Omitted from 2011 WC squad
Continuous injuries hampered his career in 2010 and early 2011. As a result, he was omitted from Bangladesh's 15-man squad for the 2011 World Cup in February. Bangladesh co-hosted the global showpiece event. Back then Mashrafe said it was "the most painful day" of his life. Many people termed it the end of his career. But he vowed to fight for national team selection and eventually came back strong.
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Mashrafe was all smiles after signing for the Knight Riders COURTESY
Selected for Asia XI and bought by KKR
Mashrafe was selected in the Asia XI team, along with Mohammad Ashraful, in 2007. Asia XI played against Africa XI in the Afro-Asia Cup. He was then bought by the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise in the money-spinning Indian Primier League. At that time, Sourav Ganguly was the captain of KKR. And Mashrafe was highly praised by Sourav at that time. With that said, Mashrafe played only one match in that campaign for KKR.
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Mashrafe was on song, right throughout the 2015 World Cup COURTESY
World Cup 2015
Bangladesh Cricket Board decided to give the captaincy back to Mashrafe in 2014 ahead of the 2015 World Cup down under. Some people raised their eyebrows due to his injury and fitness concerns. But Mashrafe united the whole team and captained Bangladesh with positive intent. In the World Cup, Bangladesh produced their best ever result in a World Cup, beating England and reaching the quarter-finals.
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Under Mashrafe's leadership, Bangladesh clinched series wins over powerhouses like India, Pakistan and South Africa COURTESY
Six consecutive series wins at home
Under Mashrafe’s captaincy, Bangladesh emerged as a giant force in world cricket on home soil. Bangladesh won six consecutive ODI series' against Zimbabwe (twice), Pakistan, South Africa, India and Afghanistan. The streak ended against England last month when the Tigers lost 2-1. Bangladesh could have won the England ODIs had they clinched the first match of the series from a winning position.